November 19, 2010
Colorful, stylish headscarves
Robyn Blicker’s web-based business is seeking a wide clientele.
“There is a hat for every head,” according to Robyn Blicker, founder of Headdress Fashion International, and, more to the point, “a scarf for every look.”
Two weeks ago, Blicker launched her website, headdress.ca, full of colorful photographs displaying her collection of distinctive headscarves that she has designed and handcrafted.
“I started covering my hair a few years ago for religious reasons, and I was looking for a business that I could do on the Internet that could work with my family life,” Blicker told the Independent. “I really like creating things from scratch, from nothing to something, and this is a great way to mesh everything together – be creative, have a business and still be there for my family.
“I have found that, most of the time, scarves are made by big producers and I don’t find that there is that much color and texture, things have been pretty neutral, so I wanted [my scarves] to be more colorful.”
Blicker acknowledged that, for the most part, many women prefer more neutral tones, so she sometimes just adds a bit of animation, like a touch of lime green to a brown scarf. “I try to do something that’s flexible,” she said, “something that is monochromatic … that would allow versatility. I want people to be able to match easily.
“Wearing [a Headdress scarf] is a way for me to be really comfortable. It stays on nicely, it’s comfortable, you don’t want to rip it off your head like some hats … it feels like part of your body and it’s not obtrusive. It ties easily in a knot or a bow and it can go in your purse. There are dressier and more casual and simple [designs]. It can take you from day to night. The scarves are also really good to have when you are cooking or with a baby to keep your hair off [your shoulders] and keep your baby from pulling your hair,” Blicker explained.
Blicker likes versatility. A customer’s hair can be worn in or out of the scarves and, she said, styles range from “bohemian to chic. It covers a lot of territory, depending on what you pair it with.”
While a large percentage of Blicker’s clientele are Orthodox Jewish women, and she hopes to offer them a fresh, unique way of hair covering, Blicker is marketing to a much broader population. Her headscarves are also “for people who want a new look, or for people who want to cover their head because of medically induced hair loss,” she explained, “also hockey moms or soccer moms, or people who don’t want to deal with their hair that day and want to have a fun look.
“When it comes to fashion and trying different things, people tend to be a bit more reserved than I prefer,” Blicker said. She believes that when a woman wears one of her scarves, “It’s a way of giving [her] a lift. You throw it on and, all of a sudden, you have a unique look. You will get noticed wearing these – in a good way. It’s a bit retro: if you look back at how women looked in the past, they looked more complete, they had finishing touches. You know, you don’t walk around without your shoes on, it’s like remembering to put on lipstick once in a while … with [a scarf] you are more complete and polished.”
Blicker sees new ideas for headscarves everywhere, whether it’s an autumn tree with gold and yellow leaves or a store window with something dazzling that catches her eye. She is busy noticing how different colors and textures work together, and she takes these ideas and recreates them at home, aspiring to create a headscarf that has both character and elegance.
When women tell Blicker, “It’s not for me; I don’t wear hats,” she thinks that they may be missing out. She challenges women to step out of their comfort zone because she believes that once someone tries on one of her scarves, they might change their mind. She hopes to encourage women to be more open, “because you never know. You got to have a little fun, and this is a great way to have some fun without [breaking] the bank.”
Buying a headscarf from Headdress is a very personal experience, according to Blicker. She sends a letter that goes out with each scarf, explaining its theme (energy or purity, for example) and relaying a message about that theme. By doing this, Blicker hopes to connect with her customers and to give them a special experience, where making a purchase is “like getting a gift in the mail.”
The future looks bright and Blicker has many ideas up her sleeve. She plans to introduce a line for girls and to launch a campaign where partial proceeds of her sales are donated to breast cancer research. For now, Blicker intends to keep selling her scarves through the website, as opposed to retail outlets, because she wants to keep the costs reasonable. She’s happy to do custom orders because, according to Blicker, “once you’re talking about something creative, it’s fun for me, so I am more inclined to say yes.”
Elizabeth Nider is a freelance writer living in Richmond.